February 09, 2019

πŸ•‚Devotions in Honor of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes

The following prayers are recited as a novena in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes -- Feb. 2-10 -- and on the Feast -- Feb. 11th.

Instruction and Reflection on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

This great title of Our Lady is one of the best known to all Catholics and yet whose message is most shamefully neglected and forgotten. In accord with God's love for the poor and simple of heart, the Blessed Virgin Mary chose St. Bernadette Soubirous, a young, humble maiden of little education, as Her instrument to convey to mankind Her message of Maternal concern and urgent repentance.

It was in the year 1858 that the Mother of God appeared to this little shepherd girl, in a distant grotto, in the French foothills of the Pyrenees, commonly known as Massabieille. As with all of Our Blessed Lady's Apparitions, She appeared to the humble and those most hidden from the world, because it is in these hearts that God works His greatest wonders of grace. In a series of 18 apparitions from February to July, the Mother of God offered a message of hope, warning, and consolation, but especially one urging mankind to return to the love of Her Divine Son, through prayer, penance, and reparation for sins.

"I am the Immaculate Conception." In an age such as ours, so decadent and Godless, these words come as a ray of Hope and a pledge of victory. In no other age has Satan reaped such abundant fruit as in ours, and never has the battle for God and His Honor looked so bleak. Sin and vice have smothered the light of God's Grace, and Satan has successfully established his kingdom. When all seemed lost, God sent His Immaculate Mother to be our sole refuge.

It is only through Her that we will ever hope to obtain the grace to resist sin and Satan's snares and allurements, and persevere in Our Holy Catholic Faith. If we expect to persevere through these perilous times, our lives must be every bit as fervent as Bernadette's. Yet most of us are ensnared by complacency, and thoughtlessly take God's grace for granted. The humble faith of this young girl should be evident in our daily lives by our unquestioning obedience to the counsels of Holy Mother Church given through Her Bishop and clergy. How often do we find ourselves pridefully questioning the authority and guide set over us by God, and little by little shutting out the life of grace from our souls. How many of us lack her humility by hiding our Faith and devotion out of fear of human respect, when she gladly underwent severe questioning and rude treatment from the officials of this world for the sake of her Faith?!

Finally, Our Blessed Mother's plea for "Penance, Penance, Penance!" should be the tenor of our daily lives in this vale of tears -- reparation for sin our aim in consoling Her Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Son. Upon this will depend our perseverance; for in our very crosses we will find the grace to persevere and to overcome the world. Our Lady did not promise St. Bernadette happiness in this life, but promised it would be waiting for her in Heaven. So also, we must keep our eyes ever fixed on our heavenly goal as we struggle against the world to remain Our Lady's faithful servants and apostles.

"Thou hast visited the earth and hast plentifully showered it with blessings; Thou hast enriched it in many ways." (Ps. 64:10)

Today the glorious Queen of Heaven appeared on earth; today she brought to her people words of salvation and tokens of peace; today Choirs of Angels and of the faithful are filled with joy as they praise the Immaculate Conception. Glory be to the Father...

Thou art all fair, O Mary, and the original stain is not in Thee.

"Thou art the Glory of Jerusalem; Thou art the Joy of Israel; Thou art the Honor of our people." (Judith 15:10)

Truly joyful art Thou, O holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise, who with Thy virginal foot hast crushed the serpent's head. Hail Mary...

O Virgin Mary, God most high has blessed Thee more abundantly than all other women on earth. This day the Lord has honored Thee so much that Thy praise will never cease to be on the lips of men.

O Mary, perform miracles and work marvels anew! Make Thy power appear glorious! Hasten the time of our deliverance and be mindful of Thy promises. Let mankind proclaim Thy wondrous deeds. Hail Mary...

O Mary, from the very beginning Thou wast the Lord's and He loved Thee with eternal love. Call upon the Lord and speak to the King in our behalf. Deliver us from death! Hail Mary...

Mary speaks: "I chose this place and made it holy, in order that my name might be honored there, and my eyes and my heart might remain there forever." (2 Para. 7:16)

"My delights were to be with the children of men." (Prov. 8:31)

O stainless Mother of the Lord, while we Thy glory chant,
A gracious ear to us accord and heavenly favor grant.

A sad inheritance we own--In guilt our lives begin;
Exempt from Adam's fall alone, thou never knewest sin.

Prone on the earth beneath Thy heel the serpent's head remained;
Thou only dost to Heaven reveal an origin unstained.

Do Thou, whose glory takes away the shame of Mother Eve,
Accept the tribute that we pay and all our wants relieve.

From Satan's every dart and snare our weakened souls defend,
That so Thy glory we may share, in joys that never end.

To Thee, O Jesus, glory meet, the Virgin Mary's Son;
To Father and to Paraclete be equal honor done. Amen.

V. Let me praise Thee, O holy Virgin!
R. Give me strength in my conflict with Thine enemies!

Let us Pray:

O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary didst prepare a worthy dwelling for Thy Son, we humbly beseech Thee that we who celebrate the Apparition of the same Virgin, may obtain health of mind and body. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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